Intentional Interim Minister Rev. Kyle Harris's Page
As I begin my ministry with you, I want to express my gratitude to each of you for the opportunity to serve as your pastor during this time of transition. Interim ministry can be a strange concept to many. Since the advent of being clergy as a profession, all ministries are interim in nature. Very rarely do congregations form under the leadership of one pastor and that pastor stays for their whole ministry. Clergy move from congregation to congregation – but the ministry of the congregation continues. So, being in an intentionally interim ministry, what does that ministry look like? Why is what we do now important for the future of the congregation?
There are three biblical images of interim ministry that provide structure to our life together. First, the people of Israel left slavery in Egypt on their journey to the Promised Land. What they thought was supposed to be a short journey became 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Many important things happened to the people of Israel during those 40 years. That journey from one reality (slavery) to a new life (in the Promised Land) informed and shaped the people and their community.
Second, in preparation for Jesus’ public ministry, he spent 40 days in the wilderness in prayer and fasting. In this time, Jesus gained clarity about who he was as the Son of God and what his ministry on earth would look like. Jesus resisted temptation and prepared himself for the journey to the Cross and Empty Tomb. The third biblical image for interim ministry is fixed in the person of John the Baptizer (aka Baptist – he wasn’t a Baptist, he was a baptizer). John preached the message of Jesus’ coming that he would be the savior of God’s people.
Each of these images is important to keep in mind as we begin our life together. There are things we need to learn on our journey toward your next settled minister. There are trials and temptations that we will endure as the congregation gains clarity around what your ministry will look like in the future. I am here as your temporary shepherd to nurture you and guide you into your next phase of ministry.
What that ministry looks like is up to you – you have the opportunity to shape a reality in this community that will embody Christ’s resurrection. One of the things we understand about the Gospel of Mark’s account of Easter is that the ending of the Easter Story has yet to be written. As 21st Century Christians, we understand that we are an Easter people and we can’t hesitate to proclaim, “Christ is risen!” From that first Easter moment to now, the old rules have been abolished as life triumphs over death, hope overcomes despair. This is the Easter world in which we live, no matter the time of year.
I look forward to helping you write the next chapter in the ministry of Central Christian Church. I am honored to be with you in this time.
I’ll see you Sunday.